If the mere thought of a dental drill fills you with dread, you might have a dental phobia. It’s not unusual – a lot of people are scared to go to the dentist. You may have had a bad experience as a child or a family member instilled fear in you at an early age.
No matter how you feel about sitting in a dentist chair, don’t put off your appointment.
Regular dental exams and professional cleanings are important for a healthy smile. Here are 5 ways to take the fear out of your dental appointment:
1. Find an understanding dentist: Many dentists are specifically trained to treat fearful patients. Go to meet the dentist and their staff ahead of time. They can make you feel confident and comfortable before you even get in the chair.
2. Start with a low-stress experience: Take it one step at a time. Start with a simple dental cleaning. If you need additional dental work, schedule procedures over time so you don’t have them all in one sitting.
3. Sedation: There are a variety of options before a dental procedure. Dentists now offer local and topical anesthetics that target the specific site of the procedure. Specialized practitioners can provide conscious sedation, which puts you in a relaxed state in which you are aware of your surroundings. General anesthesia (you are put into an unconscious sleep) may be an option for long procedures. Talk to your dentist about the best pain management option for you.
4. Anti-anxiety drugs: Your dentist can give you Valium or another drug to help calm you before a procedure. But you’ll need someone to pick you up and drive you home.
5. Practice meditation or bring an object to hold: Close your eyes and picture yourself on your favorite beach during your procedure. Breathe deeply and evenly. Squeezing a stress ball is another option.
Don’t let your fears keep you away from the dentist. Here are some reasons why it’s important to get regular dental checkups.